Dealing With “Know It All” Children
At Sundance Canyon Academy, we hear from many parents who are at their wit’s end with teenagers who act like they know everything. We recognize that it’s incredibly frustrating and worrisome when your teen does whatever they want with complete disregard to your advice. Today, we are writing on the topic of dealing with “know it all” children. If you think your son could benefit from personalized support, contact us today to learn more about our school for troubled teens.
Teenagers are known for having a mind of their own. They’re strong-willed, and they act like they already know everything. Even when you give them advice or help them make appropriate choices, they might do whatever they want anyway. As a parent, this can be extremely frustrating!
It’s tough to see your teen making blatantly bad decisions even though you’ve warned them not to. Maybe they’re spending too much time playing video games instead of managing their time well. Maybe they’re determined to get the after-school job they want, even though you know it won’t pay well.
Or maybe it’s more concerning than that. Maybe they’re hanging out with friends who you know are a bad influence. Maybe they’re experimenting with drugs and alcohol even though you’ve repeatedly warned them about the dangers of substance abuse.
In either situation, the same factors are at play. Understanding what drives your teen’s decision-making will help you address it.
If you are worried that your teen’s behavior is unsafe, he may benefit from a change in scenery. Many teens with poor decision-making skills benefit from enrolling in a therapeutic boarding school where they attend life skills classes and regular school classes.
Why do teenagers act like they know everything?
The basic answer is: their brains aren’t fully formed yet.
An area of the brain called the prefrontal cortex is largely responsible for decision-making. It’s also responsible for personality, weighing risk vs. reward, and several other major life components.
Unfortunately, the prefrontal cortex is the last part of the brain to form fully. It doesn’t wholly finish growing until we are around 24-years-old.
So, teens are stuck with a nearly adult-sized body, the ability to make life-altering decisions, and an immature brain. Even if you give them the best advice possible, their brain might still process wrong and lead them to make impulsive decisions.
How to deal with a “know it all” child
During the teenage years, we’re more likely to make decisions based on fun. Even kids who made great decisions as children might make poor decisions as teenagers.
We tend to overestimate the reward of a given situation during the teen years and underestimate the risk. This is why teens are prone to engage in reckless and risky behavior. The fun factor is high, and the risks don’t seem to matter as much.
Dealing with your kids during this phase can be challenging.
Here are a few tips to help you through it:
Set clear expectations with linked consequences. Though your teen might not see the long-term risk of their behavior, they might understand the short-term risks. They might not worry about developing lung cancer from smoking cigarettes, but they understand getting grounded for the weekend if they’re caught smoking.
Assure yourself that it’s not just you. It’s easy to get caught up in your own situation and feel like you’re alone. When your teen acts like they already know everything, it can be infuriating! Remind yourself that it’s not just you and that lots of parents deal with the same situation.
Remind yourself that it’s not permanent. As your teen turns into an adult, their brain will continue to develop. They won’t be a “know it all” forever! In the meantime, keep trying to give them good advice. They might remember it as adults and use it later.
If you are worried that your son’s decisions are becoming dangerous, he may need additional intervention. The professional therapists at Sundance Canyon Academy are trained to work with teens to help them learn the necessary life skills to make thoughtful choices. Contact us at 866-255-3708 to learn more about our program.